Few situations in life are as frightening as being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. If this has happened to you, one of the first things you should do is contact a qualified defense attorney. This might be intimidating, especially if you’ve never had legal troubles before. Try not to panic.
There are a few things you should look for when searching for an attorney. By keeping these qualifying factors in mind, you can narrow down your options and find someone quickly.
You’re being accused of a certain crime, and it won’t help you to work with a lawyer who has no experience defending such charges. Along with making sure you’re contacting a criminal lawyer, you should also check to ensure you’re contacting one with experience with defending the charges you’ve been given. Everyone has to start somewhere, but now is not the time to give a young attorney a chance at a new type of case.
Whatever you do, don’t simply google “lawyer” and call the first firm that pops up. Take a few hours to do some real research. The more you find out about the attorney you’re considering, the better. This is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of success.
2. Being a Member of a Criminal Defense Organization
If the lawyer you’re considering is a member of a criminal defense organization, they are more likely to be on top of the latest changes to the law. Being up to date on changes in legislation means the lawyer will be better able to figure out the best methods for defending you.
3. Mutual Respect
A good attorney will know how to treat each client with respect. Much like a good doctor needs to develop strong bedside manner, a wise attorney will have the people skills to effectively guide you through the legal process.
The lawyer is the expert, but that doesn’t mean your thoughts and opinions have no value. Even if you don’t have opinions to share, it’s smart to work with an attorney who takes the time to explain things to you. You’re already going through a tough time, and it won’t help your emotional state to be kept in the dark.
4. Time Spent Working in Your Area
Attorneys make many connections through their work. Lawyers who have spent a great deal of time at a practice in your local area will be able to better predict how your case might go. For example, they might know that a certain judge tends to give out harsher sentencing for certain crimes than other judges in the area. All information is helpful information, and it can be comforting to work with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the legal system in your county.
5. A Gut Feeling
Sometimes, you have to follow your gut. Along with feeling respected by your attorney, you should also feel comfortable. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, it might be smart to consider other options. You’re never going to feel great in the situation you’re in, but you should feel that all your legal matters are being handled effectively. Hiring a lawyer you’re comfortable with will free up emotional resources to get personal and professional aspects of your life in order.